02 Feb2011


I don’t get to the markets every Saturday, but I try to go as often as possible. While I typically go armed with a list of basics such as onions, garlic, leeks, celery, potatoes, etc. — I also tend to pick up anything that looks interesting, seems to be at the peak of its season, or simply catches my eye. I do not go with particular dishes in mind… sometimes this works, and sometimes not. I try not to be wasteful, but I do tend to overbuy and there are definitely weeks when a few items turn bad before we manage to cook them. If there is anything that stokes my creative juices in the kitchen, it is a myriad of fresh and interesting ingredients to work with…


For a dinner for 6 people last Sunday, I roasted the humongous chicken I found a while back. I had intended to glaze it with damson plum jam flavored with five spice powder, but that idea got sidelined when I realized I had some wonderful small fennel bulbs and fronds in the fridge. So into the cavity of the chicken went some sliced onions, fennel, orange zest, orange juice, Italian parsley, olive oil, salt & pepper. I spread butter with my fingers in the area between the skin and the meat, careful not to puncture the skin. I then seasoned the chicken with salt and pepper and spread some olive oil on the surface. The chicken turned out moist and flavorful. A complete bargain at PHP500+ and it easily fed 6 people with leftovers. I will definitely buy more of those chickens when I see them back in the groceries…


For the colorful vegetable side dish up top, I blanched some fresh patani/fava/lima beans and peeled them. Then I blanched some french green beans. In a skillet, I added some olive oil and tossed the beans/legumes until warmed through, added some thin slices of jamon serrano (still from the whole leg from Christmas!), took it off the heat seconds later, and added some shaved parmiggiano reggiano cheese. Season with salt and pepper. This was a totally “spur of the moment” dish, following the classic flavors of peas with ham… but it worked quite nicely and looked great. We also made a tomato salad with three kinds of tomatoes, wild and regular arugula, and some local mozzarella cheese from Rizal Dairy. All together, this made for a colorful plateful. And all of this after the appetizer of sauteed chicken livers!

Yup, the produce selection in Manila has definitely come a long way in the last 15 years and it seems to keep improving as the months go by… :) Oh, in case you were wondering what was for dessert, our guests brought some homemade chocolate pudding and lemon squares. Can you feel the need to go on a diet soon?



  1. KUMAGCOW says:

    diet epic fail haha

    Feb 2, 2011 | 6:13 am


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  3. natie says:

    Oh, wow!! that really looks delicious, MM! Can’t beat fresh greens

    Feb 2, 2011 | 7:00 am

  4. tercer says:

    MM, this is off topic but I thought it may interest you as I believe you have always shown particular interest in developing our youth’s education and preparing them to compete in the global marketplace. This author Amy Chua, and her book has definitely stirred up a huge firestorm here in the US, especially with the educational elite. Following is the article;

    Asian American and Yale law professor Amy Chua ignited a stormy debate on parenting when the excerpt of her new book “Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother” was published in a Wall Street Journal article titled Why Chinese Mothers are Superior. Here is an excerpt from Yahoo News:

    “Though Chua was born and raised in the U.S., her invocation of what she describes as traditional “Chinese parenting” has hit hard at a national sore spot: our fears about losing ground to China and other rising powers and about adequately preparing our children to survive in the global economy. Her stories of never accepting a grade lower than an A, of insisting on hours of math and spelling drills and piano and violin practice each day (weekends and vacations included), of not allowing playdates or sleepovers or television or computer games or even school plays, for goodness’ sake, have left many readers outraged but also defensive. The tiger mother’s cubs are being raised to rule the world, the book clearly implies, while the offspring of “weak-willed,” “indulgent” Westerners are growing up ill equipped to compete in a fierce global marketplace.”

    Whether you agree with Chua, it would be helpful to be familiar with the discussion. Here are few articles from national media:

    Time Magazine: Tiger Moms: Is Tough Parenting Really the Answer?
    CBS News: “Tiger Mom’s” Kids are Totally Going to Kick YOur Kid’s Butts
    New York Time: But Will It All Make ‘Tiger Mom’ Happy?
    Her Daughter: Tiger Mom, Amy Chua’s Daughter Defends Her.

    Feb 2, 2011 | 7:13 am

  5. jennie says:

    Wow..so yummy..that was my fave..chicken and veggies..your on my blog site..I love your blogging site..



    Feb 2, 2011 | 7:19 am

  6. Marketman says:

    tercer, I have read the Time article, and I have to say, I am “leaning” more towards the Amy Chua camp than not. I know that may shock some, but I do think there is some merit to her views, though certainly not all of them. You realize, she is the daughter of Chinese immigrants who moved to the U.S. from the Philippines…

    Also, in light of recent published reports of the notable underperformance of Filipino-American children in schools on the West coast, I am indeed worried that Filipinos both at home and in the U.S. aren’t taking their educations seriously enough, nor are they exposed to sufficiently good educations to prepare them for a highly competitive environment when they grow up. Most upsetting was the description that “filipinos just liked to sing karaoke” or some such statements in that study…

    Feb 2, 2011 | 7:20 am

  7. natie says:

    Yes, she is definitely making waves here right now–interviewed in many major TV stations, including CNN shows

    Feb 2, 2011 | 7:23 am

  8. junb says:

    I love the color and selection of the veggie !!!

    On Tiger Mom, When I arrive in Singapore back in 1991 the literacy rate is lower than philippines @ 80%++. But now 20 years down the road when the government mandated by law that every child need to go to school, the literacy rate shoot up to 96% for aged 15 and above and roughly close to 100% for 14 yrs and below. Majority of the population here are chinese while the Indians are as competitive as the chinese. Should we follow the same thinking as the chinese and indians? My Daughter even though we are telling her to relax and take it easy she is basically influence by the environment and start to be competitive too. Good or bad only time can tell. For us, as a parent we will give what is best for our kids.

    Feb 2, 2011 | 9:04 am

  9. adam says:

    RE: Fava Beans. Thanks MM!

    Feb 2, 2011 | 9:43 am

  10. Teresa says:

    MM the salad looks gorgeous!! Such eye candy I must say, with all the colors jumping out of the plate. Looks to yummy too. Except for the dessert, the diet should be on its way as long as portions are taken into account.

    I am also leaning towards the virtues of Tiger mom and yet, I also do believe in balance. Indeed, all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. It is interesting how the Chinese groom their kids to be successors in business and they do start them out young. It’s much like the first born son being groomed to inherit the thrown during the early dynasty days. The article is an eye opener and we can learn so much from it. In my son’s school it has been discussed amongst parents with a good number of multi-racial Asians coming to defend this belief. If it works, then it must be worth a try.

    Feb 2, 2011 | 9:48 am

  11. Sands says:

    Fresh ingredients really elevate a dish. I think that is why I can never outdo my Mom in the kitchen. She lives in Batangas and goes to the palengke every single day. So everything is fresh, which is why I always gain a pound or 2 when I go home for the weekend.

    Feb 2, 2011 | 10:10 am

  12. eden claire says:

    Yummy and healthy!

    Feb 2, 2011 | 10:13 am

  13. shiko says:

    thank you for sharing yet more of your kitchen innovations! i have the same sickness of overbuying at wonderful groceries. it’s comforting to commiserate with you ;)

    the riff off peas-and-ham sounds terribly inspired. reminds me of not a few moments on Top Chef. surely sometime you could compete with the best of them. ;)

    reading this after your later post on latik, i’m reminded of a remark i once heard that you tend to focus on “sosyal” western food rather than our own (echoes of the fishpan, anyone?). but i appreciate your honesty and genuine appreciation in that later post as much as i truly appreciate your application of local ingredients here to classic recipes that may be western in origin, but appeal everywhere for their deliciousness. :)

    i mean, you actually make me want to try lima beans! ha ha ;)

    Feb 2, 2011 | 11:36 am

  14. juan says:


    Feb 2, 2011 | 11:37 am

  15. Anne :-) says:

    Wow, you always outdo yourself on all of your “kitchen” conquests! MM, I haven’t tasted patani….does it taste like green peas?

    Feb 2, 2011 | 12:09 pm

  16. fried-neurons says:

    Keeping on-topic with the off-topic conversation…

    It’s important to note that whenever there are studies and articles about how well “Asian students” perform in American schools, “Asian” does *not* include Filipino. It typically means Chinese, Japanese, and Korean.

    My totally unscientific theory as to why Filipinos generally don’t perform as well is that we have this cultural attitude towards education that’s something like “basta makapag-tapos, puede na”, in contrast to the Chinese “get straight As throughout your school career or you die” mentality. :)

    Feb 2, 2011 | 12:18 pm

  17. Bubut says:

    i wonder MM on how you manage on your uric acid with those high purine foods? (beans, seeds of tomatoes)

    Feb 2, 2011 | 1:09 pm

  18. jo says:

    finally the plump dressed chicken has served its second sentence

    Feb 2, 2011 | 1:54 pm

  19. britelite says:

    am wondering if I use turbo broiler will it have the same effect being juicy and all-?

    Feb 2, 2011 | 10:57 pm

  20. MImi says:

    Happy Chinese New Year of the Rabbit! Health to you and family, MM! And health to all your readers too!

    Feb 2, 2011 | 11:18 pm

  21. Georgia says:

    I like the veggies -so fresh, light and delicious.

    Feb 3, 2011 | 3:37 am

  22. wisdom tooth says:

    I’m just wondering if anyone has been in this website. It has a lot of articles about current and relevant issues and one issue was about Tiger Mom and her style of parenting. Hope you check it out. It is another point of view. Happy reading and Kung hei fat choy!!


    Feb 3, 2011 | 5:59 am

  23. janah says:

    I heart the salad….

    Feb 3, 2011 | 12:48 pm

  24. tercer says:

    MM, indeed I am surprised that you would lean towards Amy Chua’s camp (and no, I did not know for certain that her parents migrated from the Philippines). It suprised me because in your posts that touches upon parenting, you came across more as a doting father, which does not mean you cannot be firm, rather than a Tiger Dad. I just couldn’t imagine you so ruthless and callous with your daughter, or any child for that matter.

    Although I am sympathetic to Amy Chua’s goal of bringing (wringing in her case) the best out of her children, her methods of doing so are appalling. To borrow the old adage “masahol pa que sa aso”. Does the end justify the means? Certainly not in this case where other means are proven as effective if not more so. I believe in encouraging our children to success, rather than belittling and shaming them when they fail.

    And to Fried-Neurons’ comment, I’m not so sure that the studies exclude Filipino children from the Asian group. My kids go to different schools and where one school does not have the “Filipino” race in their student questionaire, the other school do. When not included, I know many Filipinos simply check Asian or Pacific Islander.

    “Most upsetting was the description that “filipinos just liked to sing karaoke” or some such …” yes it would be alarming if true, and upsetting if false because it promotes an unflattering stereotype. It can’t be true can it? If true, then odds should have been in our favor that Justin Bieber would come out of a population of 94 million (Philippines) rather than Canada with only 34 million. Then again, maybe it’s a good thing :-)

    Feb 4, 2011 | 5:44 am

  25. Betchay says:

    Tercer, I also believe in Amy Chua’s view of guiding in bringing the best from your kids but not her strict tiger methods. I am more diplomatic. But Chua’s ways, I think, is not purely Chinese rather, it emerges from being immigrants and CHINOYS. Remember that we Filipinos are also achievers but it is just so sad that lately our standards shifted from the high academics to something like what that recent study showed that the new breeds of FIL-AMs and pure Pinoys as well, are now excelling in”Song and Dance”.What happened? I guess it has to do with the economy—- fast and good money in the entertainment sector rather than the academics. :(

    Feb 4, 2011 | 10:04 am

  26. tercer says:

    Betchay, I agree with your allusion to Filipinos’ general decline in our pursuit of excellence. After noting earlier that there are still many questionnaires that fail to include Filipinos in the listed ethnicities, I began to ponder the question – why still not? I also recall the episode when Mr Bourdain asked more than once why pinoy cuisine is still not accorded the same recognition as say Thai or Vietnamese cuisine. After all, Filipino chefs are acclaimed in the highest social circles, and we’ve certainly had more than enough head start in exporting our culture and cuisine to the rest of the world than these other nations. We should remember that at a time when the King in Spain counted his domain the greatest in the world, we were the primary nexus of one of the most lucrative and important trade routes of the civilized world – the Manila-Mexico galleon route. And in this time when Madrid’s influence was considerable, there lived a community of Filipino “ilustrados” who we can probably guess brought their mestizo and indio culture and cuisine with them, to inflict on those hapless peninsulares. Then at the beginning of the 20th century the Philippine capital became practically a household name because of an accident of nature – abaca or more commonly known as manila hemp from which almost all things manila i.e. rope, folder, envelope, etc. sprung forth, grows only in Las Islas Filipinas. For several decades we had a stranglehold on the world’s rope market (pun intended) … then nylon happened. Good or ill, for many years we as a nation and people were in the consciousness of the likes of Andrew Carnegie and Samuel Clemens, and the American public.

    Are we so lost and unremarkable a people that even now that Filipinos are counted as the second largest Asian ethnic group in the US, we are yet unworthy of even a mere tick on a simple questionnaire, whereas White Hispanic and Pacific Islanders do? Really?

    I don’t really expect an answer, but perhaps a little introspection is good for our collective soul. Success for purely materialistic gain is unpalatable to me. Better to succeed first in building strength of character and moral well being, and thence responsibly create wealth and surplus for ourselves and our community. Would we really want the world’s fading recollections of us evoke only Imelda’s shoes, or over indulgence in karaoke? I can only hope that future travelers to our land would find false one foreign visitor’s published observation of Filipinos’ character as being “helpful but tainted” with the barely concealed lust of financial gain.

    I do my best to instill in my kids not only the drive to excel but to couple with it a sense of noble purpose. After all, what is at stake is nothing less than the legacy of our nation and our people.

    Thank you MM for your blog, and your forbearance.

    Feb 5, 2011 | 10:07 am

  27. Marketman says:

    tercer, I “lean” towards Ms. Chua’s views, but I certainly don’t agree with all of them. In our case, the teen was given a phenomenal choice of activities to participate in as a child/teen, and that choice led to things as broad as ballet for several years, flamenco to the point of public recitals, tennis, horseback riding until she flew off the horse and broke a collarbone, sewing classes, etc. I think you can go too far, and offer too much choice, and at some point children have to be guided firmly to focus on one or two areas, even if it turns out later they decide to drop them. As is usual in my family, we demand the best that we can do… and those high expectations are known and encouraged. But we do not “punish” anything less. Some children are easier to raise than others, I think, and in that department we have always considered ourselves intensely lucky to have a child who does seem to be motivated on her own and who can stand up to most challenges when faced with them. However, I do agree with Ms. Chua that it is an intensely competitive world out there, and practice does make perfect. So if you want to be a top chef, you not only need innate talent and creativity, but you need exposure to global food experiences and LOTS and LOTS of time in the kitchen. As we look ahead to college admissions in the West, I realize that today is just simply SO MUCH MORE competitive than it was 25 years ago. There are roughly the same number of spaces at say the top 25 (however we wish to define that) schools in the world, but perhaps 10x the number of applicants. All of them probably would survive the curriculum if given a chance, but only 10% of them will get in.

    It is perhaps telling that in recent conversations with the Teen, I have been heard to say things like:

    “Do whatever you want to do when you grow up, but do it exceedingly well. Good things should follow after that. But you MUST be able to fend for yourself once you reach adulthood.”

    to which she smartly observed and remarked…

    “But Dad, that isn’t what you did. You worked your butt off to be totally financially independent (and saved heavily) and retired before 40, so that now you can do just about anything you want… that was backwards.”

    So who knows which route the Teen will choose? That, is completely up to her.

    On another note, I find kids do “waste” a phenomenal amount of time (a pet peeve of Ms. Chua) which could be spent on other activities. Most notably, kids seem to be reading less, writing casual notes and formal papers less, conversing less, etc. If there is one thing I wish parents did more of, it was simply spend more time with their children, sit down to meals together often, discuss brainless things and weightier matters. Ethics, logic, rational thinking does not have to be pedantic, but if you work them into everyday conversations your children should absorb some of it. And I am with you in that I hope the Teen will eventually figure out she needs to give back to the community in which she was raised, that she is indeed a proud citizen of the country that is her home.

    I have said it before and will say it again — the smartest thing I ever did was retire from full-time work early so that I could be home a lot when the Teen was growing up. Mrs. MM was also at home for most of that period as well. The first decade or decade and a half passes so quickly, and now they are headed off onto their own adventures, hopefully armed with enough sense to find a reasonable path. Just as we need to know how to guide, we need to know how to let go at the right time…

    Feb 6, 2011 | 9:08 am


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